829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Header Photo

It was the best of times, it was the best of times. 
 The summer of '78 was my last total feel-good summer.
Nana was still alive, my cousins still came down every weekend,
we were racing three boats every summer Saturday, and the goings-
on around 829 Southdrive were as they always had been since the
beginning of time: Epic.  In my mind at least.

Mary Wagner died the following summer, and all of a sudden
our idyllic summer haven teetered on extinction. By then, my Dad
had become disenchanted with the rat-race of driving three hours
each way to his childhood summer house from Lancaster, Pa. 
A steady crew was harder and harder to find for the E scow, 
and the combination of excessive motorboat traffic and waves
on the racecourse drove my Dad to take stock.  There was always 
a distant estuary to the south that called him home.  The Chesapeake.

I still have dreams about that house at the end of South Drive, 
and almost always, I'm in the current owners' domain, while they're
not there.  Convenient, huh?  Weird though.

My readers (2) by now should be able to appreciate the 
nostalgic side to their author.  Humor me please. 


  1. I love your nostalgic posts, and you clearly had a lot of very special summers in that house and sailing on the bay. Are you related to Fred A Mabbett?

  2. Family beach houses have a way of getting under your skin. It'll be a sad day if we ever get taxed off the sand dune on our barrier island but that seems to be the way things evolve at the beach.

  3. Baydog, I get your nostalgia about 829 Southdrive. I really do. I think it was pretty well pronounced in these pages before this post. I didn't comment before because I so envied your nostalgia. I have nothing to match it except with my bitterness pertaining to 1945 Mesa Road. (Another state, another time.) Now that I live on another Mesa, one of my own choosing, I no longer think of the current owners in my original domain. Even as my current idyllic year-around sailing life teeters on extinction, I can raise my cup of java to Mary Wagner, who I never got to know. You had it good, Hombre.

  4. am I allowed to get your nostalgia if I wasn't even born yet in the summer of 1978?

    1. I must look young - I've been photo-ID'd twice trying to buy a $2 Powerball ticket in the last few months.

    2. I got carded while buying a beer last weekend.

  5. Nostalgia is that rare thing that can make New Jersey sound like a cool place.

    How do you do it?

    1. There's a lot of truth in that. I never knew I would feel so nostalgic for new Jersey until I left it.

      Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

  6. Very nice, very honest.



  7. BTW, the adult with the soon-to-be-refilled gin and tonic in his hand was my Uncle Gordy. Dad must have been flaking a mainsail in the driveway.

  8. Gonna take a sentimental journey
    Gonna set my heart at ease
    Gonna make a sentimental journey
    To renew old me-emories

  9. Can't say why but this is an awesome photo.